Watford captain, Troy Deeney refuses return to training

Watford captain Troy Deeney says he will not return to training because he fears for his family’s health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier League teams are starting non-contact training from Tuesday.

Deeney does not want to put his baby, who has had breathing difficulties, “in more danger” and has raised concerns over the increased risk to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players.

“We’re due back in this week, I’ve said I’m not going in,” Deeney, 31, said.

Watford are not due to train on Tuesday and it is understood the club do not have a problem with Deeney’s stance.

In an interview with the Times at the weekend, manager Nigel Pearson expressed his own concerns about the situation and said he would not insist on players reporting for training.

 Deeney added: “It only takes one person to get infected within the group and I don’t want to be bringing that home.

“My son is only five months old, he had breathing difficulties, so I don’t want to come home to put him in more danger.”

The Office for National Statistics says black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die from coronavirus as white people in England and Wales.

Michael Bennett, the director of player welfare at the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), says he has been called by players, particularly from the particularly from the BAME group, who are concerned about the risks.

Last Wednesday, Deeney was in a meeting with the Premier League, other team captains and medical experts.

He said: “My problem was in the meeting, I asked very simple questions.

“For black, Asian and mixed ethnicities, they’re four times more likely to get the illness, they’re twice as likely to have long lasting illnesses – is there anything extra, additional screening, heart stuff to see if people have got problems with that? No. OK, well I feel that should be addressed.

“I can’t get a haircut until mid-July but I can go and get in a box with 19 people and go and jump for a header and nobody could answer the questions, not because they didn’t want to, just because they don’t know the information.

“So I said if you don’t know the information, why would I put myself at risk?”

Bennett said: “I’m not sure how significant [the risk] is in that particular area, all we can do is talk to them about that.

“There have been players that have come on to me with concerns about going back because of health issues, and I want to put on record that from a PFA welfare point of view the health and safety of players has to come first before anything else.”

Wealthy countries failing Africa during pandemic, presidents say

Wealthy countries are failing Africa, with pledges of financial support and debt relief falling well short of the continent’s needs as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic, several African presidents have said. 

Developed economies have channelled trillions of dollars into health initiatives and economic stimulus at home. But the presidents – from Kenya, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Niger – said they could not afford such measures in their own countries.

“We’re not in a position to protect companies, to preserve jobs. There’s an injustice that is again being exposed by COVID-19,” Senegal’s President Macky Sall said during a virtual roundtable organised by the New York Forum Institute think-tank.

While Africa, with a limited capacity to test, has recorded just a fraction of the world’s coronavirus cases, it has been hit hard by the economic fallout from global trade disruptions, falling oil and commodities prices and the lockdowns deployed to fight the disease’s spread.

South Africa to start phased school re-opening on June 1

South Africa will resume classes for all grade 7 and 12 pupils on June 1, after a nationwide school closure of more than two months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that, under strict social distancing rules, other grades would be able to attend lessons in smaller schools with fewer than 150 pupils.

Bigger schools will open for other grades at a later date. South Africa, the African nation worst hit by COVID-19 with 16,433 infections and 286 deaths, began a phased easing of its lockdown at the start of May.

All teachers are expected to return to work from May 25 and the revised school calendar will be published soon, the minister said, adding that school sports would not be permitted.

WHO head says he will keep leading virus fight after Trump threat

The World Health Organization’s head has said he would keep leading the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut off funding and quit the body.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday defended the agency’s role after the United States again withheld full support for a resolution passed by member states on the pandemic.

“We want accountability more than anyone,” Tedros told a virtual meeting of the WHO’s 194 member states. “We will continue providing strategic leadership to coordinate the global response.”

Washington allowed the resolution calling for a review of the global response to the pandemic to pass by consensus, but said it objected to language about reproductive health rights and permission for poor countries to waive patent rules.

WHO officials running the meeting clapped and cheered after the resolution was passed without a vote hours after Trump tweeted his threat to pull the US out of the body.

It calls for a review of the WHO-led global response, something the US has demanded.

But the US mission in Geneva said in a statement that paragraphs on the right of poor countries to waive patents to obtain medicine during a health emergency would “send the wrong message to innovators” trying to produce new drugs and vaccines.

The reproductive healthcare language could be interpreted as requiring countries to permit abortion. “The United States believes in legal protections for the unborn,” it said.

Chris Oyakhilome’s TV station sanctioned in UK over COVID-19 claims

A TV channel in the UK owned by one of Nigeria’s most flamboyant evangelical pastors has been sanctioned by Ofcom, the broadcasting authority in London, BBC reports.

According to BBC, the authority punished Chris Oyakhilome’s Loveworld Limited, which runs the Loveworld channel that can be viewed in the UK, “after a news programme and a live sermon included potentially harmful claims about causes of, and treatments for Covid-19”. Pastor Oyakhilome has linked the virus to 5G networks and alleged that it was part of a plot to create a “new world order”. Such views have been widely condemned by scientists, who say the idea of a connection between Covid-19 and 5G is “complete rubbish” and biologically impossible.

Ofcom said that the programme “Loveworld News included unsubstantiated claims that 5G was the cause of the pandemic, and that this was the subject of a ‘global cover-up’”. Ofcom also criticised a sermon that was broadcast that questioned the motives of those looking for a vaccine. The UK authority said that it was not against controversial views, but these had to be “put into context” and not undermine trust in the health authorities.

Source: BBC

Trump turns on WHO over handling of pandemic

President Trump has again attacked the WHO calling the UN agency a “puppet of China” that has “done a very sad job” in handling the coronavirus.

“The United States pays them $450m a year, China pays them $38m a year, And they’re a puppet of China. They’re China-centric to put it nicer, but they’re a puppet of China,” Trump told reporters in Washington, DC.

Trump has already suspended US funding of the WHO. 

Trump’s comments came after the US administration continued to put pressure on the WHO over its handling of the pandemic at a key meeting of the agency’s decision-making body, the WHA.

Chinese city tightens lockdown after spike in cases

Authorities in the Chinese city of Shulan are tightening lockdown measures after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Since noon on Monday, people living in compounds with confirmed or suspected cases have been barred from leaving while visitors have been banned. All food will be delivered.

The northeastern city of Shulan has confirmed 19 locally-transmitted cases of the virus since May 7, according to state media. It was classified as a “high risk” area on May 10.